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AOL and Jump Menus

 
 
James Hutton
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      06-22-2006
(cross-posted from Dreamweaver forums - no replies after a week or so)

I've just completed a small site (DW 8.02), and on one of the pages is a
jump menu with about 75 links on it. The jump menu is set to open each
link in a new window. It seems to work within all browsers except AOL.
According to the (rather garbled) phone message I took last night it
appears to be a "runtime error" - do you wish to debug?

I assume that this is something to do with the Javascript settings
within AOL, however not having an AOL setup here does anyone know how to
get it to work out of the box?


URL is http://www.crosbyrna.co.uk/links.html

Thanks in advance

James
 
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Andy Dingley
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      06-22-2006

James Hutton wrote:

> I've just completed a small site (DW 8.02), and on one of the pages is a
> jump menu with about 75 links on it.


As general web design, there's a significant problem with that page in
that it's entirely dependent on JavaScript. This really isn't a good
idea, not just because of AOL.

I strongly suggest that you re-write it. A simple list is bulky, but
much more accessible to some users.

Ideally I'd suggest that you write the page as two <div>s. The upper
one contains the <select>s you have at present. The lower one is
simple lists, as <dl> or <ul>

In CSS, make the top <div> (with the <select>s) display:none; If it's
not going to work, there's no sense in taunting the poor users with it.
Make the lower <div> (lists) normally visible.

In some JavaScript on the page onload event, turn on the display of the
top <div> and turn off the display of the lower <div>. This will only
happen for users who are running JavaScript, so everyone gets the
appropriate sort of interface. You might even leave the lists visible
-- JavaScript users can always scroll down to look at them, they're not
actually harmful.

Leave the print CSS for the big list so that it always prints, even if
normally hidden (by JavaScript). This gives a much more useful page
when printed.

When making big lists of external links, it's also my practice to
duplicate the URL onto the page and to have it printed (by CSS), not
usually displayed on screen. This makes hard-copy paper records of the
page far more useful in the future.

As to the AOL problem, then you've used the JavaScript evil() function
-- sorry, eval().
You never need this -- once in a blue moon, it's that rare. It also
causes no end of trouble with browsers, particularly if one is being at
all security conscious. Just avoid it entirely, you certainly don't
need it here. Write some simple JavaScript navigation code.


PS - You've no CSS background-color set either

 
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James Hutton
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      06-22-2006
Andy Dingley <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> James Hutton wrote:
>
>> I've just completed a small site (DW 8.02), and on one of the pages is a
>> jump menu with about 75 links on it.

>
> As general web design, there's a significant problem with that page in
> that it's entirely dependent on JavaScript. This really isn't a good
> idea, not just because of AOL.
>
> I strongly suggest that you re-write it. A simple list is bulky, but
> much more accessible to some users.
>
> Ideally I'd suggest that you write the page as two <div>s. The upper
> one contains the <select>s you have at present. The lower one is
> simple lists, as <dl> or <ul>
>
> In CSS, make the top <div> (with the <select>s) display:none; If it's
> not going to work, there's no sense in taunting the poor users with it.
> Make the lower <div> (lists) normally visible.
>
> In some JavaScript on the page onload event, turn on the display of the
> top <div> and turn off the display of the lower <div>. This will only
> happen for users who are running JavaScript, so everyone gets the
> appropriate sort of interface. You might even leave the lists visible
> -- JavaScript users can always scroll down to look at them, they're not
> actually harmful.
>
> Leave the print CSS for the big list so that it always prints, even if
> normally hidden (by JavaScript). This gives a much more useful page
> when printed.
>
> When making big lists of external links, it's also my practice to
> duplicate the URL onto the page and to have it printed (by CSS), not
> usually displayed on screen. This makes hard-copy paper records of the
> page far more useful in the future.
>
> As to the AOL problem, then you've used the JavaScript evil() function
> -- sorry, eval().
> You never need this -- once in a blue moon, it's that rare. It also
> causes no end of trouble with browsers, particularly if one is being at
> all security conscious. Just avoid it entirely, you certainly don't
> need it here. Write some simple JavaScript navigation code.
>
>
> PS - You've no CSS background-color set either
>

Andy,

Many thanks for your detailed reply, rewrites in the pipeline.

James
 
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Andy Dingley
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      06-22-2006

Andy Dingley <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Ideally I'd suggest that you write the page as two <div>s.


Here's a crude fragment
<style type="text/css" >
body {
background-color: #ffffff;
font-size: 1em;
font-size: 100%;
}

#divJumpMenu {
display: none;
}

#divLinkLists {
display: block;
}

#divLinkLists dt {
margin-top: 1.5em;
}

#divLinkLists dl dd.link {
font: monospaced;
font-size: 90%;
display: none;
}


@media print {
#divJumpMenu {
display: none ! important;
}
#divLinkLists {
display: block ! important;
}
#divLinkLists dl dd.link {
display: block ! important;
}
}
</style>



<script type="text/JavaScript" >
function window_onload() {
document.getElementById('divJumpMenu').style.displ ay = 'block';
document.getElementById('divLinkLists').style.disp lay = 'none';
return true;
}
</script>


[...]


<div id="divJumpMenu" >
[...] old <select>s
</div>


<div id="divLinkLists" >
<h4>RNA branches and areas</h4>
<dl id="listRNA" >
<dt><a href="http://www.royal-naval-association.co.uk" >The Royal
Naval Association</a></dt>
<dd class="link" >http://www.royal-naval-association.co.uk</dd>

<dt><a href="http://www.rna-10-area.net">Royal Naval Association
10 Area</a></dt>
<dd>10 Area covers Elbonia, Lyonesse and Narnia</dd>
<dd class="link" >http://www.rna-10-area.net</dd>
</dl>
</div>

 
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Jonathan N. Little
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-22-2006
James Hutton wrote:
> (cross-posted from Dreamweaver forums - no replies after a week or so)
>
> I've just completed a small site (DW 8.02), and on one of the pages is a
> jump menu with about 75 links on it. The jump menu is set to open each
> link in a new window. It seems to work within all browsers except AOL.
> According to the (rather garbled) phone message I took last night it
> appears to be a "runtime error" - do you wish to debug?
>
> I assume that this is something to do with the Javascript settings
> within AOL, however not having an AOL setup here does anyone know how to
> get it to work out of the box?
>


3 things:

1) Why do you bother with a "go" button if the form fires merely by a
change in the select box. Really annoying if you make the wrong
selection by error.

2) JavaScript only! Why isn't the "go" button at least a real submit
button so that the page would work without JavaScript?

3) Why always a new window? Popup windows are hotly debated here and
generally now considered bad design. Whether or not your subscribe to
this position coupled with issue #1 your page can very annoying spawning
new windows especially when created by error which is very easy to do
with the onchange event handler.

--
Take care,

Jonathan
-------------------
LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
 
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James Hutton
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-22-2006
Many thanks for the input Jonathon,

> 3 things:
>
> 1) Why do you bother with a "go" button if the form fires merely by a
> change in the select box. Really annoying if you make the wrong
> selection by error.




>
> 2) JavaScript only! Why isn't the "go" button at least a real submit
> button so that the page would work without JavaScript?



Used the jump menu as is from DW, never used it before, (bit of a novice
really)

>
> 3) Why always a new window? Popup windows are hotly debated here and
> generally now considered bad design. Whether or not your subscribe to
> this position coupled with issue #1 your page can very annoying spawning
> new windows especially when created by error which is very easy to do
> with the onchange event handler.


Target audience is usually >70years, many requests for a way back to the
originating page etc, short of framesets etc new windows are the easiest
option for my little brain!!

Only other way I did this was to have am <iframe> of links within the
main links page. However all suggestions taken onboard (pardon the naval
pun)and shortcomings acknowledged.

Many thanks again.

James
>

 
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Jonathan N. Little
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      06-22-2006
James Hutton wrote:
> Many thanks for the input Jonathon,
>
>> 3 things:
>>
>> 1) Why do you bother with a "go" button if the form fires merely by a
>> change in the select box. Really annoying if you make the wrong
>> selection by error.

>
>
>
>>
>> 2) JavaScript only! Why isn't the "go" button at least a real submit
>> button so that the page would work without JavaScript?

>
>
> Used the jump menu as is from DW, never used it before, (bit of a novice
> really)
>


The problem with DW allows you to make a really mess without having to
know anything about what you are doing.

>>
>> 3) Why always a new window? Popup windows are hotly debated here and
>> generally now considered bad design. Whether or not your subscribe to
>> this position coupled with issue #1 your page can very annoying
>> spawning new windows especially when created by error which is very
>> easy to do with the onchange event handler.

>
> Target audience is usually >70years, many requests for a way back to the
> originating page etc, short of framesets etc new windows are the easiest
> option for my little brain!!


I would argue more people recognize the back button on the browser then
then window swapping from the desktop taskbar. Proof it the simple but
seemly effective physhing technique of popping up a window over a
legitimate site with a fake login window still catches "physh"! Anyway
how many of these >70 possibly mouse challenged users will select the
correct item for the list the first time! I foresee a significant number
of unwanted popup windows.

>
> Only other way I did this was to have am <iframe> of links within the
> main links page. However all suggestions taken onboard (pardon the naval
> pun)and shortcomings acknowledged.


or insert via PHP, SSI includes is an effect option.

--
Take care,

Jonathan
-------------------
LITTLE WORKS STUDIO
http://www.LittleWorksStudio.com
 
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